… at the center of the universe dwells Wakan-Taka (the Great Spirit), and that this center is really everywhere, it is within each of us. This is the real peace…
The True Peace
The first peace, which is the most important,
is that which comes within the souls of people
when they realize their relationship,
their oneness, with the universe and all its powers,
and when they realize that at the center
of the universe dwells Wakan-Taka (the Great Spirit),
and that this center is really everywhere, it is within each of us.
This is the real peace, and the others are but reflections of this.
The second peace is that which is made between two individuals,
and the third is that which is made between two nations.
But above all you should understand that there can never
be peace between nations until there is known that true peace,
which, as I have often said, is within the souls of men.
Black Elk, Oglala Sioux & Spiritual Leader (1863 – 1950)
Read More by Black Elk, Holy Man of the Oglala in The Sacred Pipe: Black Elk’s Account of the Seven Rites of the Oglala Sioux
Another Vision of Black Elk
“In 1980, Congress created the Black Elk Wilderness in the Black Hills National Forest,” she said. “That honors him in a way that the Oglala understand. We don’t worship people or objects, we venerate holy places with a spiritual history. Last August, the government changed the name of Harney Peak, the highest point in South Dakota, to Black Elk Peak. In his vision, Black Elk stood on that peak and received the spirit-beings. If he becomes a saint, it’s not important to me. I’d rather look at that peak, and know it will always be Black Elk Peak, than have my great-grandpa’s name and face on one of those little saint cards.”
Nicholas Black Elk, a holy man of the Oglala Sioux, came into the world in Wyoming before it was Wyoming, and died in the village of Manderson, on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, in South Dakota, in 1950. At his death, he was thought to be about eighty-four years old. The Encyclopedia of the Great Plains, a publication of the University of Nebraska, calls him “probably the most influential Native American leader of the twentieth century.”